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Will Bolivia's power generation push lead to idle capacity?

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Will Bolivia's power generation push lead to idle capacity?

Bolivia's power generation park is due to nearly double in size in the coming years, which raises the question of where the electricity from all the new capacity will be dispatched given the country's already comfortable reserve margin.

Planned additions include 1,000MW this year from combined cycle operations at the plants Entre Ríos, Warnes and Sur; and 585MW from hydro facilities San José 2 (69MW, 2019), Yura (21.4MW, 2019), El Cóndor (1.46MW, 2020), Ivirizú (290MW, 2021) and Miguillas (203MW, 2021), according to state power company Ende.

Another 108MW will come from wind farms San Julian (39.6MW, 2020), Warnes (14.4MW, 2020) and El Dorado (54MW, 2021); 50MW from solar park Oruro in 2019; and geothermal plant Laguna Colorada will contribute 5MW from a pilot project in 2020 and 100MW in 2023.

Ende also has some 4,000MW in hydro capacity under study (see table below), led by projects Bala (2,000MW) and Madera (1,500MW).

SOURCE: Ende (EDTP = preinvestment technical design study)

Last year, the state operator brought online the 60MW Uyuni solar park (pictured) and the 55MW San José 1 hydro.

OFFTAKE

Apart from covering local demand, the government is betting heavily on supplying neighboring markets as part of the country's export-driven energy policy.

A first milestone is scheduled for later this year with the startup of the 118km 132kV Juana Azurduy de Padilla interconnection with Argentina, ahead of a future 500kV link.

The potential offtake of Bolivian electricity in Brazil, Paraguay and Peru, however, is still in the early phase of studies, and the buildup of generation parks in these countries – as well as increasing capacity in Argentina – casts doubt as to whether these options will materialize for Bolivia.

SOURCE: Ende

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